Arts & Culture

Nazzle Man does it again

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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NOT even Nazzle Man was sure of his win at Sunday's finals of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Festival Song competition. He knew he had a great song, he was competent in pulling his audience in with his stage craft, but on final night he was not sure he could pull off a back-to-back win, having won the last staging of the contest back in 2016.

However, when all was said and done he was declared winner, pocketing more than $2 million in cash for his entry Jamaica A Wi Home, fending off a valiant effort from the history-making choir from the Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God — the first-ever choir to make it to the finals for the Festival Song competition, which is now in it 52nd year.

Nazzle Man, whose real name is Oneil Scott, was speechless when the Jamaica Observer caught up with him backstage, after he was announced the winner and performed amidst a colourful shower of confetti which washed the stage at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew.

“I feel great, great, great, wonderful,” he muttered as the reality of the win seemed to stun him.

“This year was very competitive and at one point, by seeing the crowd and stuff like that, I was thinking that Escarpment look like them giving me a run. But I still had the confidence because I know I did a good job and I have a great song that everybody can sing to also, and the judges clearly saw that so I really can't complain.”

In addition to winning the top prize, Nazzle Man also won the prize for writing the winning song, both of which carry a $1-million cash award. He was also deemed Best Vocalist and pocketed $300,000 along with the $150,000 award granted to each finalist for participating in the competition.

The other two sectional prizes — Best Performer and Most Popular on Social Media with prized money valued at $300,000 and $200,000, respectively — went to the church choir.

Despite his two wins, Nazzle Man has no fear of becoming a Festival Song artiste.

“Mi write songs differently. Mi have songs working on, so I just need to focus more on my career. But I have songs that can draw on from the catalogue and put out there. I am always working. I work with Bare Essentials Band, The Dragonnaires and also my solo career, and I do some recordings. That is what I need some help with, but you will hear more from me... trust me,” Nazzle Man said.

As for his prize money, Nazzle Man plans to invest in his musical career as well as investing in other business ventures which he is currently involved in.

Nazzle Man joins two other winners who have had back-to-back victories. Eric Donaldson won in 1978 and 1979 with Sweet Jamaica and Land of My Birth. The feat was repeated in 2003 and 2004 by Stefan Penincillin with Jamaica Tour Guide and Ole Time Jamaica.

This year nine acts contested the finals, a departure from the customary 10, as Koriq was asked to withdraw due to a conflict of scheduled. He is a keyboard player for reggae artiste Tarrus Riley and is currently on tour in Europe.

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